Albert, a fellow blogger posted about Android needing a successful tablet. I couldn’t agree more, but I believe a lot of them are on the verge. If my perception of the resemblance between the current smartphone market with the home computer market of the 80s and the 90s is accurate, Android is about to also hit it big time on the tablet market.
In those days the computer manufacturers competed on proprietary platforms and operating systems (OS), just like the Blackberries, iPhones, Windows and Nokia phones of today. There were various home computer systems like Commodore, Sinclair, Amiga, Apple and the IBM PC, to mention some, and it took a while for the winner, the IBM PC compatible, to emerge only after the PC was reverse-engineered and cloned by many other manufacturers. It first ran DOS and then Windows and its huge advantage was its compatibility with many software and peripheral manufacturers, and consequentially much lower prices driven by the huge competition.
What helped then and also made Bill Gates the richest man alive, was his non-exclusive sale of DOS to IBM. Microsoft was thus able to sell DOS to producers of IBM PC clones and end users and it became the most universal platform, the common denominator, and the rest is history. The only difference today is that Google has jumpstarted the process by making Android widely available, and the manufacturers accepted it right away, ending the fights much sooner and focusing on hardware and limited customizations.
Android hasn’t made it on the tablet side yet, but there are so many new models of so many different sizes and shapes, that it’s only a matter of time before it starts its domination due to its broad manufacturers and users support, just like it’s dominating the smartphone market. Motorola Xoom was a hit at CES and its amazing hardware specs are far beyond what iPads (and many netbooks and some laptops) have to offer: dual core 2GHz CPU, USB ports, front and back camera, gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer, Flash support, just to name some (I just wonder about the battery – O fuel cell, fuel cell wherefore art thou, fuel cell?). Apple will remain present and it will have faithful followers, but it may lose the majority and become a niche just like it did during the IBM PC Clone revolution (it was stuck at 4% for a long time and it just recently approached double digits). I bought the iPad to my 88 year old dad and it was a great move, and I also may end up buying a MacBook because of its native Linux/Unix compatibility, what would also make me a part of that niche market. But I already have an Android phone and I’m waiting for the Android tablet. The majority rules and I like it. Uh-oh…
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain